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Report: Detectable HIV blips are no concern

Report: Detectable HIV blips are no concern

A new study from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that sudden detectable blips of HIV levels are harmless mathematical variations stemming from the viral load test and do not mean that treatment is losing effectiveness. "These results should provide relief to hundreds of thousands of HIV-positive patients in the United States currently taking drug therapy and reassure them that their medications have not failed," said Robert Siliciano, a Johns Hopkins doctor involved in the study. Researchers analyzed blood samples taken from 10 HIV patients every two to three days for three months. Intermittent episodes of detectable viremia occurred in nine of the 10 patients, but typically lasted less than three days. The tests found no HIV mutations taking place. "The lack of any consistency among the tests performed on blood samples confirms that there is no danger from these blips in viral load," said lead author Richard Nettles. "These blips can be attributed to random statistical artifact inherent in measurements of very low amounts of virus." Such blips do not warrant a change in course of the drugs patients take, the researchers concluded. (Reuters)

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